Litsch 'free and easy'

KEN FIDLIN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:46 PM ET

DUNEDIN — Jesse Litsch appears poised, for the first time in two years, to challenge for a spot in the Blue jays rotation.

Litsch lost all of 2009 with elbow problems that eventually led to reconstructive surgery. When he came back midway through the 2010 season, he was forced out again by hip surgery after nine starts.

This spring, however, he is throwing with the same kind of velocity and movement that marked his 2008 season, when he won 13 games and had an ERA of 3.58 over 179 innings.

“He’s going to get the ball every five days in camp,” said manager John Farrell. “He’s clearly in competition for one of the spots in our rotation.

“In the early workouts, before camp, he was free and easy, no physical restriction. He has know-how and savvy. Everything right now points to him being fully healed and ready to go.”

Even before being sidelined with the hip injury last season, Litsch did not show either the control or the bite on his breaking pitches that he showed pre-surgery.

“He’s closer now to where he was than we’ve seen him,” said pitching coach Bruce Walton. “When he came back post-surgery, his arm dragged a little bit. I’ve seen arm-speed from him this spring that I haven’t seen before.”


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